Club de Artesanas

Dye Season is Here

Road Side Suyku Above the Town of Independencia

The rains have fallen daily since early February so hopefully water won’t need to be rationed during the dry season. The school year started at the beginning of February, so Independencia went from a ghost town to action packed overnight. Carnaval week fell at the end of the month which gave water balloonists all month to practice.

Mordants, Assistants, and Suyku

The Club de Artesanas (CdA) spent a day collecting and preparing plant dyes and 2 days dyeing. The first dye day was devoted to cochineal due to the skeins the Huancarani weavers had dropped off with requests for reds and pinks. The dye pots for the 2nd dye day were loaded with leaves of local plants. The women of the CdA didn’t have to walk far to gather suyku, which was just starting to flower. Hitchhiking in vain the following day Dorinda trudged an hour up the mountain to a higher altitude where chilka grows prolifically along the road side. The rains had washed the road dust off the leaves so they were ready for the dye pot. A bit of suyku was gathered on the descent through its preferred altitude for growth. The local government has invested in heavy

Grinding Cochineal

equipment the past 5 years and uses it to widen the roads by pushing dirt, gravel, and roadside vegetation down the mountainside. Former plant collecting areas are inaccessible because of the drop off between the road and where the plants are now growing. The suyku seems to like disturbed soil and continues to proliferate along the roadside, except where it can’t get a foothold due to the ever growing erosion from the road maintenance practices.

The chilka leaves dyed the skeins a grey green when mordanted with millu, a mineral from the La Paz area that darkens dye baths. The dye was not as strong as it is during the dry season, so suyku was added to the 2nd dye bath with a few grams of copper sulfate and the result was a deep forest green. The dye in the suyku pot was strong enough for 4 dye baths resulting in a variety of yellow-greens and bronzes. Doña Máxima, Vilma, and Doña Antonia used a hand cranked cereal mill to grind the last of the 5 kilos of cochineal that PAZA purchased in 2012 at $36 a kilo. Inquiries have been made concerning the purchase of another 5 kilos, but a source has not been nailed down yet.

CdA Weavers Happy with Their Suyku and Chilka Dyed Skeins

A number of the Huancarani weavers visited Sunday mornings after selling their peaches at the weekly market in Independencia. They are working on weavings to fill orders from students of Laverne Waddington’s upcoming workshops in Florida and Arizona. Maribel showed up one Sunday with a huge smile and her first completed weaving. Weaving finally clicked with her thanks to Laverne’s help using diagrams to learn the motifs in Huancarani in January. Maribel’s weaving fit the specifications for a yoga mat strap, so of course it was purchased by PAZA as motivation for her to continue. Doña Máxima explained the importance of introducing more colors in the weavings. Maribel had used the yarn her mother-in-law had provided her. PAZA gifted her 4 natural dyed skeins to begin her own stash. She will have to ply them. She can add to her collection by purchasing more CdA dyed skeins at cost or by buying spun skeins and paying the CdA to dye them for 28 cents a skein or she can dye her own. She is the 118th weaver to sell through PAZA since 2008. Alas, many of the other 117 weavers have migrated, retired from weaving, or passed away. Last year there were only 30 active weavers.

“Sold!” – Maribel’s 1st Weaving with Figure Learned from Laverne

The CdA women were asked what projects they would like to work on this year. They asked for yarn to crochet shawls. A rural woman can never have enough shawls, especially if she has children. Kids always appear underdressed when it comes to bundling up in sweaters and coats. Moms usually carry at least one extra shawl to wrap up a shivering or slumbering child. Club members have to learn something new with each project so the women are looking at shawls of family and friends to find a granny square they wish to copy.

They asked about sewing projects, but without volunteer help in using the patterns a lot of material is wasted and clothing usually doesn’t fit properly. Unfortunately, there are no volunteers on the horizon, which is the CdA’s main resource for learning new fiber skills. It has been a couple of years since the CdA women have sewn the style of blouses they wear. Since they need to practice with the sewing machines blouses will be a 2017 project for the women. The blouse material can be purchased in Cochabamba whereas the flannel, quilt squares, and much of the material used for child and teen clothing is donated and carried down from the U.S.

Chicas Making Jewelry on a Rainy Saturday

Abigail and Jhesica, the 2 oldest teens in the Club are doing great taking turns as the CdA chicas trainer. They planned out 2 months of activities for Saturday mornings. Abigail was the trainer for the 1st Saturday of the session and coerced Dorinda into teaching a yoga class then Dorinda coerced them into helping with a birthday sign to send to her niece. The next rainy Saturday 6 chicas crowded into the library to make wire and bead jewelry, listen to an Enrique Iglesias DVD, chat, and giggle. The 2 younger siblings who were along played with blocks and puzzles. Last Saturday only 2 teens showed up and they stayed an extra 2 hours utterly engrossed in crocheting bracelets adorned with beads.

Doñas Justina and Máxima, Tinkuy Bound

There will be only 3 PAZA participants at the Tinkuy in Cusco this November. Doña Máxima´s daughter Zoraida will not be able to make the trip because she is expecting her 2nd child later this year. Her 8 year old is wild with anticipation to finally have her long time wish for a sibling fulfilled.

Thanks to the orders from Laverne´s upcoming workshops, the weavers have been able to make it through the annual school supply and uniform buying frenzy without panicking about how to pay for it all. Thank you to Lyn Lucas, Irene Schmoller, Dorothy Thursby, and Susan Long for your ongoing support that allows PAZA to launch another year of Club de Artesanas (CdA) activities and to continue to help the Huancarani weavers towards their goal of preserving their weaving tradition and caring for their families thanks to their earnings from the sales of their weavings. Dorinda Dutcher, March 6, 2017

Summer Vacation Wrap Up Activities

Abi and Veronica Spending a Morning Drawing

Abi and Veronica Spending a Morning Drawing

Summer vacation is rolling towards its conclusion and the Club de Artesanas (CdA) chicas will return to classes on February 6th. They will continue Club activities on Saturday morning and for lack of an older teen familiar with CdA the older chicas who are sophomores this year will trade off as the CdA Saturday trainer. This is their 3rd year as Club members and the wage that goes with the additional responsibility will help them with their school expenses. The trainers the last 2 years were high school seniors who had been CdA members in their early teens. By training the sophomores this year with the younger girls looking on the Club will have Saturday trainers for the teen activities for years to come.

Veronica´s First Completed Weaving

Veronica´s First Completed Weaving

The chicas know they can drop by on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons to work on their weavings with Doña Máxima. Unfortunately, during the vacation they did not graduate to the leaning frame loom nor acquire the expertise to begin weaving to sell. However, thanks to Laverne Waddington´s visit they have interest so there is hope.

Fiesta de Don Jorge´s Grand March

Fiesta de Don Jorge´s Grand March

On January 26th, the Club de Artesanas (CdA) held the annual Fiesta de Don Jorge with mask and crown making, a grand march around the yard, games, dance competition, piñata bashing, lunch, and finally chocolate cake and a rousing round of  “Feliz Cumpleaños, Don Jorge”. Seven year old Emily sang her heart out and was bothered that Don Jorge was not able to be at the party for all the fun, especially since he´d bought the puzzles and decks of cards that were handed out as game prizes. Don Jorge is Dorinda´s father who will receive the sign, photos, and best

Short Work of a Piñata That Was a Lot of Work

Short Work of a Piñata That Was a Lot of Work

wishes for his February birthday. Doña Máxima, Doña Antonia, and Adviana spent hours peeling and cutting enough potatoes for 20 into thick French fries. There is something about wood smoke infused French fries that can´t be explained but should be experienced. While Doña Máxima manned the fry pot over an outdoor fire, Zoraida cooked beef and chorizo in a savory broth in the kitchen. Everyone was given a plate of French fries topped with the meat to adorn as they wished with onion, tomato, chilies, hard-boiled eggs, and condiments. This Bolivian dish is called Pique Macho and is a fiesta standard.

Weaving New Figures After Laverne´s Visit

Weaving New Figures After Laverne´s Visit

Laverne Waddington sent 2 orders shortly after returning to her home in Santa Cruz from Independencia. The women spent time during Club days warping their weavings to fill the orders because the process of rolling balls of yarn along the ground the length of the weaving takes two. Six Huancarani weavers showed up two Sundays after Laverne´s visit and breathed a collective sigh of relief to find weaving orders waiting for them. The beginning of the school year creates a state of panic among the rural women who must miraculously come up with the cash to pay for the ever increasing lists of school supplies and uniforms with no source of a cash income. Two of the Huancarani weavers left skeins to be dyed with cochineal, so February kicked off with a dye day.

Warping Adviana´s Weaving That is Destined for Florida

Warping Adviana´s Weaving That is Destined for Florida

The Club members will be dyeing regularly for the next few months of the rainy season so Doña Máxima looked through the dye supplies and came up with a list of needs. There is no online purchasing so sources have been physically tracked down through the years. The 2 gallon chicha vinegar container will be refilled early next month following Carnaval. The bag of salt chunks needs replenishing, so more will be purchased at a meat counter in Cochabamba´s huge vendor market. The unprocessed salt is used for meat preservation since many parts of the country don´t have electricity or refrigeration. A kilo of millu rocks, a mordant used to darken dye baths, needs to be purchased in the charm (ritual supply) section of the vendor market. The challah offering to the Pacha Mama (Earth Mother) that will be burned on the Tuesday of Carnaval will be purchased at the same time. There is plenty alum, cream of tartar, copper sulfate, and citric acid. Those purchases are made at a posh chemical store in Cochabamba.

Dye Day, Adviana Crocheting, Zoraida Knitting, and Doña Máxima Dealing with the Chicha Vinegar

Dye Day, Adviana Crocheting, Zoraida Knitting, and Doña Máxima Dealing with the Chicha Vinegar

It is getting harder and harder to find khesi misa, the soot from kitchen cook fires, that dyes the wool skeins a rich brown that is popular with foreign buyers. It only accumulates in kitchens that have a thatched roof, and most homes have switched to tin roofs which don´t need replacing every year. Cochineal needs to be ground in the grain grinder, and we will need to look for a new source before year´s end because our previous purveyor has retired.

February will pass quickly as the CdA transitions into a new year-long session with a few new members. The weavers will be busy with orders. Life will just start to settle into a routine before being disrupted by the frenzied week of Carnaval which begins on February 26th. Because of the fiestas and fairs that happen regularly until December life really never will settle into a routine, which isn’t a bad thing…

Thank you Lyn Lucas and Dorothy Thursby for kicking off the year by supporting PAZA!  Dorinda Dutcher, February 3, 2017

Independencia Weave-In

Laverne Demonstrating on Her Back Strap Loom

Laverne Demonstrating on Her Back Strap Loom

Laverne Waddington crosses continents in her annual travels to teach weaving workshops. Early in January she crossed Bolivia to visit Independencia. The flight from her home town of Santa Cruz in eastern Bolivia to Miami is shorter than the bus ride from Cochabamba where Dorinda met her to Independencia. Laverne, Doña Máxima, and Dorinda were roommates at the 2010 Tinkuy in Cusco Peru having connected as the only Bolivian based Weave a Real Peace (WARP) members. Doña Máxima and Dorinda have tried to lure Laverne to Independencia ever since.

The Chicas Finally "Got It" by Using Laverne´s Diagrams

The Chicas Finally “Got It” by Using Laverne´s Diagrams

Laverne´s first day in Independencia dawned sunny and Club de Artesanas (CdA) members began arriving casting shy glances at the foreign weaver they had heard so much about. Nobody knew what to expect because none of the local weavers had seen a foreigner weave. She worked with the adult weavers Adviana, Doña Antonia, and Doña Máxima and they worked with the teens. FINALLY, it happened! The weaving fever was contagious and the teens caught it and chose to weave all day along with the women. Not only were they weaving and enjoying it but the barrier between the adults and teens disappeared as all worked together.

Warping the Leaning Frame Loom

Warping the Leaning Frame Loom

Doña Máxima remembered that there were still a few spools of  Pearly Perle cotton yarn that Irene Schmoller, founder of Cotton Clouds, had donated in 2013. She used it to warp straps for the chicas. The cotton yarn is smoother than the handspun wool yarn making it easier to move the heddle strings and less frustrating for beginners. Doñas Máxima and Antonia warped a short leaning frame loom so Laverne could teach one of the larger motifs from her book.

Doña Máxima Getting One on One Instruction from Laverne

Doña Máxima Getting One on One Instruction from Laverne

The CdA members had a day off while Laverne went to Huancarani. On Saturday which was her last day Adviana, Doña Máxima, and the chicas returned to learn more figures. The weavers sat every which way on the walkway weaving and enjoying the quiet camaraderie and crisp freshness following the night´s rainfall. Laverne wove on her back strap loom when not helping others. Doña Máxima sat on a low stool in front of the leaning frame loom. Adviana and the chicas worked figures using body tension looms tied to the flower garden railing or their big toes. The scene was everything the Club de Artesanas was supposed to be when it began as the Club de Chicas in 2010 to teach teens to weave.

Laverne Picked Up Her 2017 Faja Order in Independencia

Laverne Picked Up Her 2017 Faja Order in Independencia

Laverne began placing weaving orders in 2011 with specifications and an expectation that the quality meet her standards. She has critiqued as necessary sending accompanying photos which have been Doña Máxima´s main learning tool on working with the weavers to improve the quality of the weavings for the foreign market. The weaving orders for “La Laverna” are given to the weavers who have listened and learned through the years and who have progressed from weaver, as are all women in the rural communities, to artist. In 2016, Laverne let it be known in her U.S. weaving workshops that weavings could be ordered from the Independencia weavers and those sales helped to make it the best year for sales so far. Laverne is too modest to ´fess up to all the help she has provided the Independencia weavers, but she has been instrumental in their growth as artists. Her visit was an inspirational and extraordinary three days for everyone involved. Dorinda Dutcher, January 15, 2017

Holiday Season in Independencia

PAZA has been busy the past few months but due to Internet access problems there has been a 2 month lag in the blog postings.

Cutting Out Cookies

Cutting Out Cookies

December’s headliner was that the rain began falling regularly. Cool overcast skies finally replaced the merciless summer sun. The fields of spindly corn were in agony trying to survive in soil more akin to cement than a growing medium.

The 5 Club de Artesanas (CdA) members who are enrolled in this summer vacation session spent the week prior to Christmas baking and decorating dozens of cookies. They took home a festive variety bag to share with their families. On the morning of Christmas Eve the 3 chicas formed animal figures out of a sweet bread dough to adorn and take home. The father of Abigail and Nelva was so impressed he splurged on coffee to accompany the treat. Although coffee grows in Bolivia it is not a customary drink in Independencia and it is the instant variety that prevails. All 3 chicas said enjoying the baked goods was all that their families did in celebration of the holidays.

Cookie Bags Headed Home to Share with Families

Cookie Bags Headed Home to Share with Families

After Christmas the CdA members spent weeks working on paper maché piñatas for their families using a star shaped balloon as a mold. The piñatas are not a Bolivian tradition, but all knew of them. Creating a burro shaped piñata for the upcoming Fiesta de Don Jorge was a group project.

Making Piñatas

Making Piñatas

PAZA rarely gifts cash to weavers or the CdA members. An exception was made for 12 year old CdA member, Veronica. She cancelled the plan to bake her birthday cake on Christmas Day in the PAZA kitchen because she had to work. Her father was going to take her to Cochabamba for dental care but the family was strapped for cash so she found a weekend job cleaning the public bathroom at the market. Not complaining but with a swollen jaw and expression that was heart rending she asked to reschedule the baking of her birthday cake. Her face lit up in a smile when PAZA gifted her 100 Bs. ($14.50) to cover the roundtrip bus fare to Cochabamba for her and her father. They spent almost a week in Cochabamba while she recovered from having 2 molars surgically removed.

Abigail & Nelva's Piñata Made Their Sister´s January Birthday More Festive

Abigail & Nelva’s Piñata Made Their Sister´s January Birthday More Festive

All Club members get to bake a cake to take home for their birthday so Veronica will bake and share a belated birthday cake and piñata bashing with her siblings. Her piñata is a work of art, she spent 4 days decorating it with pleated streamers and rosettes, so maybe they won´t be bashing her piñata. PAZA gifts toothbrushes regularly to its members. There seems to be headway being made in the understanding of preventative dental care, which is a good thing considering the baked goods and sweets that are part of all celebrations and the CdA activities.

Frying Outdoors Makes Cleanup Easier

Frying Outdoors Makes Cleanup Easier

New Year´s Day fell on a Sunday, so Doña Máxima and Dorinda invited the Huancarani weavers to drop by the PAZA workshop for api and pastel. Api is made by dissolving powdered corn in boiling water spiced with cinnamon and cloves and sweetened with sugar. A pastel is bread dough with a cheese filling that is rolled thin and deep-fried so that it puffs up and the cheese melts into gooey yumminess. A sprinkling of powdered sugar completes the confection. Doña Maxima and Doña Antonia built a fire under the outdoor grill to fry the pasteles. Huancarani weavers arrived around the same time so all sat to sip, eat, and chat. The comfortable camaraderie on a fresh cool sunny morning was the perfect way to ring in the New Year.

In a blast from the past high school friend, Dave Miller, contacted Dorinda while she was in Kansas to ask about buying some weavings for Christmas presents. Thank you Dave, for your support and your interest! Thank you Kris Fister for your continued generous support and we look forward to knitting with you here in Independencia one day. Thank you Lyn Lucas, Dorothy Thursby, and Nancy Meffe for your ongoing support that makes it possible to keep chugging along on track plus allows some leeway to diverge off track. Dorinda Dutcher, January 4, 2017

Happy Holidays to All!

A Day with CdA - Crocheting, Warping a Weaving, Playing

A Day with CdA – Crocheting, Warping a Weaving, Playing

Doña Maxima is keeping the Club de Artesanas (CdA) activities going twice a week and is opening the PAZA workshop on Sundays to meet with the Huancarani weavers. PAZA activities will kick into high gear when Dorinda returns to Independencia next week laden with activity supplies.

Veronica In Tank Top She Crocheted and Necklace She Made

Veronica In Tank Top She Crocheted and Necklace She Made

The Club members will discover the world of micro-organisms using the new PAZA microscope. Have you ever checked out the difference between llama, alpaca, and sheep fiber at a microscopic level? New books and puzzles will enchant the kids who will attend the CdA with their moms now that summer vacation has begun. The teens will be excited about the new jewelry making supplies. Although piñatas are not a Bolivian tradition, the CdA members will be making piñatas to take home for family fun along with the cookies they bake for holiday cheer. A batch of basic soap is waiting to be milled into fragrant fine soap.

Palca River, 2007, Access for Washing Everything is Just Above the Bridge

Palca River, 2007, Access for Washing Everything is Just Above the Bridge

Hallelujah! Doña Máxima reported that the rains have arrived! The Bolivian President, Evo Morales, declared a State of Emergency late last month due to the continued drought and water shortage caused by disappearing glaciers and 2 years of low precipitation. Water is life. It can also be full of life. What will be observed in water samples taken from the Palca River above and below where laundry and vehicles are washed and from the water sources folks use for drinking water? The microscope may provide that missing piece that will make the PAZA basic sanitation classes more effective.

Annual CAH Weavers' Meeting, Huancarani, 2015

Annual CAH Weavers’ Meeting, Huancarani, 2015

Doña Máxima and Doña Justina have scheduled the annual Centro de Artesanía, Huancarani (CAH) meeting for December 22nd. The topics to be discussed are Spinzilla, weaving pricing for 2017, and the upcoming Tinkuy International Weaving Conference. The weavers will enjoy the annual feast and Spinzilla Award´s Ceremony after the meeting. Many thanks to Constance Hall, Spinzilla Team Captain Coordinator, for her help in drawing attention to the support needs of the Cloth Roads Warmis Phuskadoras team and for providing each spinner with a Certificate of Participation.

Thanks to Karen Sprenger, a backstrap loom weaver living in Kansas, the time Dorinda will be spending in Kansas will be a boon for PAZA. In 2013, Karen met Doña Máxima and Dorinda at the 2nd Tinkuy International Weaving Conference in Cusco. Last July, she and Dorinda crossed paths at the annual WARP Conference. She asked what she could do to help, and what fun wonderful help she´s providing!

pillowcoversIn November, she made arrangements for Dorinda to talk about PAZA at the KC Fiber Guild meeting. Karen had brought 3 Independencia weavings that she had received at the weaving workshops she´s taken from Laverne Waddington. What a wonderful surprise to see the weavings again and to note how Laverne uses them in her workshops. The visual impact of the more recent weavings was striking due to how the weavers have evolved in their use of color. Karen is making arrangements for a joint presentation with Dorinda in April 2017 and participation in a 1 day craft fair.

These Yoga Mat Straps Found Appreciative Owners in WA.  Photo Credit: Jenny Heard

These Yoga Mat Straps Found Appreciative Owners in WA. Photo Credit: Jenny Heard

A few sales were made at the KC Guild meeting and then Karen took the remaining PAZA weavings to sell alongside her work at the Craft Fair in Burlington, Kansas. This is exactly the help the weavers desperately need. Thanks to Laverne Waddington 2016 has been the year of highest sales.

There is quite a bit of weaving inventory in the U.S., so if you are looking for a handcrafted gift for the holidays or anytime please send inquiries via an e-mail to dkdutcher@hotmail.com. The 2 sizes of yoga mat straps fit a ¼” thick exercise mat ($22) or a 1/8” thick sticky mat ($21). Other items include wallets ($15), zippered pouches ($16), and there are 2 chuspitas ($25) woven by Doña Maxima. Also available are the pillow covers ($27), belts ($16), and guitar straps ($20).

The CdA Cookie Baking Will Bring Holiday Cheer to Many Families

The CdA Cookie Baking Will Bring Holiday Cheer to Many Families

Thanks and a holiday hug go out to PAZA´s longtime supporters Lyn Lucas, Dorothy Thursby, and Nancy Meffe. Thank you Krieger Family and Shannon Dutcher for your support. Joyce Dutcher, PAZA´s earliest and strongest supporter, has again donated to the Dutcher Family Fund which is the revolving fund allowing immediate payment to the weavers for their work. Thanks mom!

¡Wishing all of you a Merry Holiday Season and all the Best in 2017! Dorinda Dutcher, December 7, 2016

October in Independencia

Post Spinzilla Meeting, PAZA Store/Workshop

Post Spinzilla Meeting, PAZA Store/Workshop

Ten members of the Cloth Roads team Warmis Phuskadoras held an impromptu meeting in the PAZA store/workshop on October 16th.  All were curious about their standing in the results. Doña Casimira was unhappy she´d dropped from last year´s champion to 4th place this year. That led to a discussion of outside influences affecting their spinning during the week. There had been 2 community meetings and an inauguration of a potable water project that piped water to a spigot in the yard (not into the home) of every home in Huancarani. One family member had to attend each of the events, and in many cases it was a spinner. That led to a broader discussion about lifestyles of spinners on other teams. They were surprised to learn that the majority drive themselves to a job outside of the home, and only spin in the home.

Spinzilla Spinning Week, CdA, Independencia

Spinzilla Spinning Week, CdA, Independencia

It was pointed out that the team had spun roughly the same amount all 3 years. The total this year of 68,056 was down 455 yards from last year. That led to what will be an ongoing discussion of what the team can do to spin more. Their Spinzilla team was compared to a soccer team and one could see in their expressions that the concept of “team” finally resonated with them. They were asked to bring ideas for team building to vote on at the annual Centro de Artesanía, Huancarani (CAH) meeting in December.

The women in the Club de Artesanas spent the first 2 weeks of October immersed in the spinning and measuring for Spinzilla. All have sewing, knitting or crochet projects to work on during Club days until

Doña Justina, right, 2016 Spinzilla Champion for the Bolivian team

Doña Justina, right, 2016 Spinzilla Champion for the Bolivian team

the end of the year. Due to the lack of success CdA has had with teaching weaving skills, no promises can be made, but Doña Maxima is planning on teaching her daughters Vilma and Zoraida the embedded double weave technique as a CdA activity during the next few months. CdA member Adviana learned the technique from her grandmother. Hopefully she will take advantage of the training opportunity to increase her proficiency.

The Spinzilla results were not yet available when Doña Máxima and Dorinda turned their attention to next year´s Tinkuy International Weaving Conference in Cusco. It will be the 3rd Tinkuy for Doña Máxima and the first for her daughter, Zoraida, and for Doña Justina, the President of the CAH. Zoraida is the best of the PAZA sales team trio which includes her mother and Dorinda.

Doña Maxima, Granddaughter Zuni, and Zoraida, Cochabamba 2011

Doña Maxima, Granddaughter Zuni, and Zoraida, Cochabamba 2011

Doña Máxima had planned to weave a 3rd aguayo last year while her husband was mayor of Huancarani, because the one she´d hurriedly woven for herself did not include the motifs possible when using the embedded double weave technique. The yearlong mayoral obligation ended and weaving the aguayo was no longer a priority. The Tinkuy offers a reason to weave that aguayo.  Seven dollars of PAZA funds were used to buy the yarn she needed to supplement what she had on hand to create a masterpiece that will debut at the Tinkuy in November 2017.

CdA Chicas, a Jewelry Making Saturday Morning

CdA Chicas, a Jewelry Making Saturday Morning

The CdA chicas picked up a new member following Amanda´s September jewelry making classes. First grade teacher and Independencia local, Profesora Prisma, delighted in Amanda´s classes and joined the chicas the first 3 Saturdays in October for a morning of jewelry making. Gabriela, the CdA trainer, laid out the supplies and books Amanda had donated and all were soon engrossed in their projects. The complexity of their work increased after 2 of the chicas had to disassemble bracelets they´d made repeating a basic technique.

Delighting in their Jewelry Making Efforts

Delighting in their Jewelry Making Efforts

Dorinda traveled to the U.S. to spend time with family following Spinzilla, and will return to Independencia in mid-December. Doña Máxima will be holding CdA activities on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the PAZA workshop. She will have the workshop open on Sunday mornings to meet with the Huancarani weavers. The CdA chicas ended for the year. Gaby, the trainer, graduates in early December and 200 Bs. ($29) in PAZA funds were given to her as a graduation gift. She had hoped to attend the university, but the 5 years investment wasn´t practical. Instead she will enroll in a 2 year sewing and design program at a vocational institute.

Headed to 2013 Tinkuy, Doña Maxima Wearing a Factory Made Aguayo!

Headed to 2013 Tinkuy, Doña Maxima Wearing a Factory Made Aguayo!

Spinzilla Spinning Week was a blast and the repercussions will ripple out into next year. Thanks again to all of you who sent good wishes and who supported the Cloth Roads team Warmis Phuskadoras. Thank you Lyn Lucas and Dorothy Thursby for your ongoing support which made it possible to prepay for the next 2 months of PAZA activities so that Doña Maxima can keep the momentum going in Independencia. Thank you to Karen and Jan Krieger and Shannon Dutcher for your generous support. Dorinda Dutcher, October 28, 2016

Spinzilla Preparation

Vilma Beating The Debris from a Sheep Skin

Vilma Beating The Debris from a Sheep Skin

Spinzilla Team Captain, Doña Maxima Cortez, of the Cloth Roads Team WarmisPhuskadoras, along with her daughter Vilma and Doña Antonia had been checking on sheep skins at various local butcher´s for weeks. Three weeks before Spinning Week they finally found the fleece they wanted to spin during the competition. Each purchased 2 at 10 Bolivianos ($1.45) per sheep skin, which happens to be the same amount each spinner paidto register for Spinzilla.

 

Doña Antonia Relaxing While Her Sheep Skin Rinse on the River Bottom

Doña Antonia Relaxing While Her Sheep Skin Rinse on the River Bottom

Following their purchases half a day was dedicated to washing the sheep skins. The process began at Doña Maxima´s house where they mixed 2 cups of ash into a large pot of waterand brought it to a boil over a fire. The boiling mixture was poured into a large wash tub, and a short wide board was used to work the hot water through the wool. It took two pots of the water and ash mixtureto scour the 6 sheep skins. For the next step theyloadedthe heavy wet sheep skins into a wheelbarrow and headedto the Palca River a mile away. River access above the bridge provided a number of conveniently placed boulders that served for draping the sheep skins so that they could beat clingy debrisout of the fiber. The final step was to weight the sheep skins on the river bottom for a final rinse.The sheep skins were trundled back home to be dried in the sun in preparation for cutting off the wool.

Vilma Examing Her Sheep Skin Prior to Cutting the Fleece

Vilma Examing Her Sheep Skin Prior to Cutting the Fleece

Doña Maxima and Vilma spent all day during the Club de Artesanas (CdA) Tuesday prior to Spinzilla preparing their fleece for spinning. It took half a day to cut the fiber off one sheep skin using a sharp knife. As Doña Máxima cut the fleece off her sheep skin shewas surprised to find various tones of gray mixed in with the white. As she prepared the roving she separated out the colors to spin each separately. Most of the traditional weavings are warped with the gray yarn on the outside borders and to break up the color blocks of the dyed yarn. The columns of motifs are almost always woven with undyed black yarn for the figures on a background of natural white yarn. As Vilma closely examined her sheep skin prior to cutting off the fiber she was pleased with the fiber´s length and whiteness, although she could have done without the stickers.

Doña Màxima Cutting Fleece

Doña Màxima Cutting Fleece

After lunch the women followed the shade around the yard as they worked the fiber with their fingers into coils of roving. By day´s end they were tired but pleased with the proof of their efforts lying at their feet.On Thursday, both worked all afternoon to finish turning the fleece from their first sheep skin into airy coils of roving.

Doña Justina, the President of the Centro de Artesanía, Huancarani (CAH) stopped by PAZA on Sunday to make the final arrangements with Doña Máxima for Spinzilla Spinning Week. Doña Justina will arrange for the 16 Huancarani spinners to meet in the soccer field on Wednesday for a photo session and for yarn measurement the following Monday. She said Doña Dionicia, who will turn 85 the last day of the competition, returned to Huancarani after last week´s Sunday market in Independencia with a heavy gunny sack of 6 sheep skins she´d purchased, although she has a flock of her own. Doña Paulina had gone to sell produce at a fair in Oruro last week and

Finally, roving

Finally, roving

returned with 2 gorgeous white sheep skins with long fibers. Doña Maxima said she´d tried to buy one, but Doña Paulina wasn´t interested in selling. Doña Paulina had also purchased ph´uskas (drop spindles) in Oruro to sell in Independencia at 5 Bs. (72 cents) each. The last ph´uska maker in Independencia died about 5 years ago.

Doña Justina shuddered at the suggestion that a Spinzilla participant could ask for help in preparing the roving. Doña Máxima said that the spinners have a proprietary interest in the quality of the yarn they spin and prefer to do all the preparation and spinning themselves. The quality of their spinning affects the quality of their weavings which are an integral part of their self-identity. They grew up weaving for home and farm use and continue to weave for the home.

The Results of a Long Day´s Work

The Results of a Long Day´s Work

They also weave to sell and thanks to the orders received this year through Laverne Waddington and her weaving workshop hosts and participants the sales have hit a record high!

Thank you Anne McGinn for supporting the Cloth Roads Team WarmisPhuskadoras! When the results come in the following teams will be pointed out as having spinners who have supported the Bolivian team: Team San Diego Country Spinners, Team Lydia Yarns Spinning, Team Shuttles, Team Webs, Team Sweet Georgia. Please let us know if you supported the Bolivian spinners but the name of your team is not included!

Thank you Teena Jennings for your continued support in so many ways! Thank you Lyn Lucas for your generosity and warm wishes.Dorinda Dutcher, October 3, 2016